Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

Leadership Philosophy: Doing well by doing good

BOND: Do you have a philosophy of life that has guided your life? Almost everyone does. But what is it for you? Is it possible to put it in a few words? I've got this amazing list of aphorisms: "Never acquire a lifestyle that you're willing to sell your soul to keep." "Never let an injustice become yesterday's news." And on and on and on and on. You know these are going to be easily absorbed and adapted.

COLE: I'm struggling to find language for it, but -- but the philosophy I think that really does guide me is that I will do well if I can just find ways to do good.

BOND: And where does that come from? Is that from family?

COLE: A.L. Lewis. Mary Frances Louis Betsch. John Thomas Betsch, Sr. Aunt Nyna. Grandma Betsch. All those folk.

BOND: Because you saw A.L. Lewis doing well and doing good. I know it's -- suppose you just see him doing well, and he wasn't doing good? Do you think that you would be a different person?

COLE: Yeah, substantially. Because you see, when I say "well," Julian, this is important, I don't just mean material resources. There are some folk in this world who are doing very well and doing substantial evil, doing very well financially.

BOND: Right.

COLE: For me doing well, not only means on a level of comfort, it means a level of peace, a kind of inner peace. It means moving with a sense of joy. And so that kind of doing well only comes, I think, when you're doing good.